As we are traveling throughout France on a work assignment trying to determine where the best location is to live permanently I thought it would be best to use Airbnb. The first three weeks we spent in Colmar, France. Everyone should do their due diligence before signing up with Airbnb to check and see if they can find the same rental through a rental agency. We could have saved 20% had we done so. A property listed as “The Charming Country Home” in Viarmes, France is my horror story.
We had reserved the property for ten days. From the pictures, it looked to be a lovely place to stay. My husband was called to work down in the southern part of France very unexpectedly and we were unable to keep our reservation. Mind you, when we booked this place seven days before, this owner had no other reservations showing on her calendar. When we cancelled, she started a long dialogue on how she had to turn away people on both weekends and that she had a lost revenue of $600. Long story short, after many emails back and forth, she refunded approximately $450 of our $1009 payment.
The company my husband works for is not picking up the difference. We must suck this up. She claims that she has a strict policy for cancellations and her beloved Airbnb supports her on that policy. I understood that I would not get the fee back for the exchange from Airbnb and I was willing to pay the cleaning fee, however, not half of my money. How someone in good conscience can keep almost $550 of our money is beyond me.
We decided to take a drive to see this “Beautiful Country Home” in Viarmes for ourselves after work finished up down in Southern France. It was fortunate we didn’t stay there. Viarmes is a very depressed, dirty town that looks like it never recovered from World War II. The entrance to her charming place is decrepit, run down, rotted and disgusting. The owner conveniently lives in the south of France and isn’t around to greet you. She arranged with a neighbor to bring guests the key.
I have written to Airbnb several times to complain and have been ignored. I would like to send them pictures of the other side of the story. They need to screen these places better. This was highway robbery and I’m feeling very taken. Unless we are compensated this will be the last time we ever consider using Airbnb. I will stay in a hotel before I consider this organization.